Lately, I've had YouTube playing on loop in the background as I work. It's usually music or photography vlogs; but last week, I stumbled upon Girl Defined.
First things first, I'm not a girl so fully recognize that I'm not the target audience. However, this video was particularly interesting, and I think guys should give it a watch. It's called "6 Guys You Shouldn't Date, Court, or Marry."
As I watched, I began to resonate with the "Mr. Struggle" they described. I thought, "Am I that guy?"
He's the guy, whose favorite lines start with "But I'm trying..."
We may think a relationship with a Christian woman will automatically make this complex go away, but it's not true. Yes, she can love, but she can't change our hearts. God is the only one who can do that.
How do we move forward?
ACKNOWLEDGE THE PATTERN
The first step is to admit there's a cycle. If we're not honest with ourselves about this, nothing will change. The cycle will take another lap, and it's likely that more people will get hurt.
Prayer should be the next step, for it's the way to surrender the future next steps to God. He has a plan for each of us, and it's one that's far greater than anything we could ever create for ourselves.
As Christians, we're called to worship God with our lives and to do that in the context of community. There should be no "Lone Ranger" Christians.
Once you've acknowledged this issue in your heart and prayed about it with God, you should share it with close friends. Doing so creates space for the church to be the church, loving you and praying over you in time of need.
Additionally, I'd recommend seeing a counselor. I've done it. Yes, I fought it for a long time because it seemed so taboo. But guys, that's ultimately pride kicking in, and that's got to stop.
There have to be new patterns in your life and ways to fill your time. If you spend too much time on your phone, delete apps. If you say "but I need my phone for the alarm clock," then buy an analog one. If you find yourself sulking, get up and run. Or get up and call a buddy.
God is the only way, and part of recognizing that is fleeing situations that lead to poor choices. Otherwise, your inactivity allows Satan to lurk in the shadows and then pounce at the most opportune time: when we're at our lowest.
Lastly, we need to practice true obedience. In fact, my morning devotional spoke on this recently. It said, "A basic definition of obedience, for spiritual growth purposes, is ‘to be God-directed, not self-directed.’" Wow!
If you're feeling like a "Mr. Struggle" today, just know that you don't have to stay that way. But, you're not going to improve by your own power. It can only be through God and by surrendering each and every part of your self-directed mindset to Him.
This isn't a promise of instant gratification, but it is a promise of eternal life through Jesus, which is far sweeter than any worldly excuse.
God, thank you for creating the universe. Thank you for creating me, for knowing me since the beginning. You, who knit me together in my mother's womb, love me. I am so unworthy, and you are so worthy. Thank you!
Lord, I confess my offenses, the things I'm holding back from you. My hands are open now, so please take them from me. I want what You want, for I believe it to be far greater.
In all things, may we look to you for guidance. May we not stay silent or fearful. May this not be "lip service" for recognition, praise, or pity. Instead, God, may my life reflect a heart change that can only be through you, through the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross.